This post was originally published March 6, 2011. In it I published a WordPress ping list and an explanation on what I had done to vet it. However 2 years later I drastically reduced my ping list when I found out that pinging many (and potentially spammy) services might actually hurt your Google rankings.
Whenever you publish a new post or make edits to your existing ones, WordPress will send a notification (called a ping) to the services on your ping list to let them know about your new or updated post. It’s been a good way to get the word out about your blog.
WordPress out of the box comes set up to notify one service rpc.pingomatic.com, and users can add to the list in the writing settings, as many bloggers have. However there are much better ways to notify Google of your new page or post.
If you search on “WordPress Ping List” you will find a lot of lists you can use. Even the WordPress codex has a pointer to an article with an extensive list. So we all thought it was good idea to add more (a lot more) services to the list in your WordPress writing settings.
However this might hurt your rankings, as Viperchill found out, and none other than Matt Cutts confirmed that Google looks negatively on many of those services.
Here’s what Glenn (Viperchill blogger) said about his “Weird Tip from Matt Cutts” in his Future of Blogging blog post:
Though I wasn’t pinging the services Matt asked me about, I was pinging a few with a foreign domain extension that he had mentioned and a lot of others, so I decided to remove all but a couple of them from my list. A few days later and my rankings were back where they should be.
Update, Feb. 26, 2019: I removed ping.blog.jp from this list because it appears to be dead.
Yes, that’s it. Instead of 131 services I now have
three two. And quite frankly, having your XML sitemap in place and submitted to Google is way more important than having a more complete ping list with a couple of extra services that might get turned off tomorrow. It’s a reflection on how much things have changed in Google-land to see these previously useful tactics turn into bombs (blog carnivals anyone?) that you now have to fix.
I also found a number of articles that told me I needed to fix “excessive pinging” by WordPress. These recommend plugins such as WordPress Ping Optimizer to prevent edits to posts from pinging. The theory goes is that you need to fix WordPress to not ping so frequently, especially in the situation where you are updating frequently to fix typos and adjust a recently published post. So do you really need to install this or a similar plugin to avoid getting banned due to excessive pinging from multiple edits to your posts?
This was the question I asked myself, and the answer wasn’t readily available. Sure if you go into your blog and update hundreds of your posts a day with little changes just to make your content “fresh” for the search engines, that might cause problems, but for most “real” bloggers that isn’t what we do. And I don’t want to disable pings for edits, at least not all the time. Especially when I substantially rewrite an older post, like I’m doing right now, to bring it up to date.
With each release WordPress has become more sophisticated and even SEO friendly. So I really wondered if it was pinging each time I edited a post. I found my answer by looking at the actual code, namely the
cron.php file in wp-includes. What really happens is that WordPress schedules the ping when you make a change, and doesn’t schedule any more pings in the next 10 minutes. So if you make six changes within 10 minutes, only one ping occurs.
And if you happen to update a post 15 minutes later from the initial publish date, I don’t think it is the end of the world. But you might want to be mindful of your editing activities and try to fix all your typos in one go rather than updating the post for each change.
Kathy Alice Brown is a SEO expert specializing in Technical SEO and Content. In her spare time she loves to get outside.